How is staph infection diagnosed?

Your doctor’s diagnosis of a staph infection depends on what area of the body is affected.

  • Skin: Usually, doctors diagnose a staph infection on the skin by examining the affected area. Your doctor may choose to take a sample of the skin to test for the bacteria.
  • Food poisoning: Your doctor will ask about the length and severity of your symptoms and may take a stool sample.
  • Mastitis: After considering your symptoms, your doctor may send a sample of your breast milk to a lab to test for the presence of bacteria.
  • Toxic shock syndrome: Your doctor may take a urine or blood sample to check for bacteria. Sometimes, doctors will also order a CT scan to see if the infection is affecting the organs.
  • Endocarditis: Diagnosis is based on symptoms, blood tests, and an echocardiogram.

How do I know if I have staph infection?

If you have symptoms of a staph infection, you should contact your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. See your doctor if you or your child has an area of skin that is blistered, irritated, or red, especially if a fever accompanies these symptoms. Only a doctor can diagnose and treat a staph infection.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/17/2019.

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